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Columnist Carolyn Hax

Tell Me About It ® By Carolyn Hax

By Carolyn Hax
Sunday, February 20, 2005; Page M01

Dear Carolyn:

I have fallen for a co-worker. She started a few months ago, and we have become close friends. About a month ago, I asked her out and she became emotional, started to cry, and said no because she is having family problems and can't handle anything else right now. A few weeks later, I asked if her answer would have been different if her family situation were better, and she said yes, but I still can't tell if she is being honest or just trying not to hurt me. I think she does have feelings for me. Where do I go from here? I don't want to keep bringing it up, but I want to know if something is there or not. Am I just not getting the hint?


(Nick Galifianakis - For The Washington Post)

_____Carolyn Hax_____
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I've witnessed, heard about, read about, uttered and received enough gently fictional blowoffs to knit gently-fictional-blowoff scarves for half the population of D.C.

Few of these white-liars, if any, wept. I suppose it's possible she's just manipulative, but if that's true, then I'll cry.

So, it seems safe to believe her.

Until she starts dating your boss.

Just keep in mind, though, that even if she is being honest, it doesn't mean you'll end up together. A no is a no, no matter what the reason or degree, until she comes to you with a yes.

Plus, family problems can throw people off course in ways that are as unpredictable as they are dramatic -- especially tear-inducing, date-inhibiting, emotional-credit-card-maxing family problems like this girl seems to have.

Where you go from here is up to you. If you'd be her friend even if romance were never an option, then just keep being that friend. No agenda. If you've fallen too hard for that -- no judgments here, both are completely legit -- then tell her so, and to let you know when she feels the same.

Dear Carolyn:

I'm a high school junior, and my boyfriend of two weeks recently broke up with me -- in a note. I wasn't upset, since I had been planning to break up with him, but I was hoping to stay friends, and so was he (at least that's what his note said). Somehow, though, we've wound up not speaking. My family and friends see the note as a cop-out and think I'm better off never conversing with him again. I agree with the cop-out part, but I think it would be pointless to throw away a friendship. I know he can be sensitive and might need time to cool down. Would attempting to speak to him again be a mature or stupid endeavor?


If this is multiple-choice, I like (C) futile endeavor. Smile when you see him but otherwise let him cool off. Your impulse is noble. However, inflamed sensitivities not only do better with more rest and less conversation, but I also advise against anything that risks your being friends, becoming a couple, breaking up, vowing friendship, miscommunicating, keeping score, holding a grudge, needing to talk, and making up in less time than it takes for most people to clean leftovers out of the fridge.

Write to Tell Me About It, Sunday Source, 1150 15th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20071 or tellme@washpost.com and join Carolyn's live discussion at noon Fridays at www.washingtonpost.com/liveonline.

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